Standards employed

In preparing the volume on Lower Metazoans and Lesser Deuterostomes, the editors relied primarily on the taxonomic structure outlined in Invertebrates, edited by R. C. Brusca, and G. J. Brusca (1990). Systematics is a dynamic discipline in that new species are being discovered continuously, and new techniques (e.g., DNA sequencing) frequently result in changes in the hypothesized evolutionary relationships among various organisms. Consequently, controversy often exists regarding classification of a particular animal or group of animals; such differences are mentioned in the text.

Grzimek,s has been designed with ready reference in mind, and the editors have standardized information wherever feasible. For Conservation Status, Grzimek,s follows the IUCN Red List system, developed by its Species Survival Commission. The Red List provides the world's most comprehensive inventory of the global conservation status of plants and animals. Using a set of criteria to evaluate extinction risk, the IUCN recognizes the following categories: Extinct, Extinct in the Wild, Critically Endangered, Endangered, Vulnerable, Conservation Dependent, Near Threatened, Least Concern, and Data Deficient. For a complete explanation of each category, visit the IUCN Web page at <http://www.iucn.org /themes/ssc/redlists/categor.htm>.

In addition to IUCN ratings, chapters may contain other conservation information, such as a species' inclusion on one of three Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) appendices. Adopted in 1975, CITES is a global treaty whose focus is the protection of plant and animal species from unregulated international trade.

In the species accounts throughout the volume, the editors have attempted to provide common names not only in English but also in French, German, Spanish, and local dialects..

Grzimek,s provides the following standard information on lineage in the Taxonomy rubric of each Species account: [First described as] Actinia xanthogrammica [by] Brandt, [in] 1835, [based on a specimen from] Sitka, Alaska. The person's name and date refer to earliest identification of a species. If the species was originally described with a different scientific name, the researcher's name and the date are in parentheses.

Readers should note that within chapters, species accounts are organized alphabetically by order name, then by family, and then by genus and species.

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